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Mexico's Housing Revival

The Council on Foreign Relations

58 East 68th Street (at Park Avenue)
New York, NY 10065

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This event explored Mexico's recent housing revival during a time of urban developmental change. Expert panels composed of Mexican government officials, finance executives, developers, and diplomats shared their thoughts during various plenary conversations expanding on financing mechanisms, housing subsidies and opportunities for investment, and the challenges that the Mexican housing sector is likely to face in the future. 

View our special report here.

View photos here.

View video of the event here.


A Conversation with Maria Paloma Silva de Anzorena, General Director, National Housing Commission (CONAVI)

Presiding: Ann Forsyth, Professor, Principal Investigator, Harvard University Graduate School of Design 


Presiding: Gregorio Schneider, Managing Partner & Chief Investment Officer, TC Latin America Partners

Germán Ahumada, Executive Director, ARA
José Reyes Baeza Terrazas, Executive Director, Social Security Fund for the State (FOVISSSTE)  Jesús Alberto Cano Vélez, General Director, Federal Mortgage Bank (SHF)  Sergio Leal, Executive Director, VINTE 

  • The new financial regulation
  • Development banks versus alternative financing methods
  • Cooperation with the United States


Opening Remarks: Luis Robles MiajaPresident, Mexican Banking Association (ABM) 

Presiding: Claudia Martinez Ochoa, Senior Associate Investment Officer, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)

Eugenio Garza y Garza, Chief Executive Officer, JAVER  Alejandro Murat Hinojosa, General Director, Workers' Housing Fund National Institute (INFONAVIT
Maria Paloma Silva de Anzorena, General Director, National Housing Commission (CONAVI)
Enrique Vainer, Chief Executive, Grupo Sadasi

  • Financial inclusion, construction financing and capital, rental housing as a new sector to explore demand
  • Cooperation between the public and private sectors
  • Middle and high-end real estate markets
  • Implementing housing solutions according to needs of Mexican workers
  • Identifying financial innovations to enhance the rental and secondary markets
  • Inclusive growth: housing subsidies that enhance low income workers' quality of life


Presiding: Alejandro C. Ramos, Executive Director, United States-Mexico Chamber of Commerce, NE Chapter

Antonio Ortíz Mena, Head of Economic Affairs, Embassy of Mexico to the United States
Fernando Abusaid Quinard, President, National Chamber of Housing (CANADEVI) Luis Fernando Zárate Rocha, President, Mexican Chamber of the Construction Industry (CMIC)

marinJorge Carlos Ramírez Marín is a Mexican politician from the Institutional Revolutionary Party who serves as Secretary of the Ministry of Agricultural, Territorial, and Urban Development of Mexico. His office creates and assesses proposals for territorial development, human settlements, and urban and agrarian development on regional as well as national levels. Secretary Ramírez Marín is responsible for developing economic strategies and is involved in proposals to modernize the national urban legal and development framework of Mexico. Prior to his appointment he has been the President of the State Directive Committee of the Institutional and Revolutionary Party (PRI) in the State of Yucatán. He has served as Deputy of the LVIII and LXI Legislatures of the Mexican Congress representing the Yucatán and, from September 5, 2010 to August 31, 2011 served as President of the Chamber of Deputies. He was also Partner at the law firm Basulto Soberanis y Asociados, S.C. P. He is co-author of the book Merida, three Different Reasons (Mérida, tres razones distintas). 


quinardFernando Abusaid Quinard is Mexico's National Housing Development President, the only trade association focused on the home building and promotion industry in Mexico. CANADEVI represents more than 80% of the companies dedicated to the housing construction and promotion industry with 34 delegations nationwide. As a trade association, CANADEVI helps promote the policies that make home building a national priority through different Committees that target the most current and relevant topics. Mr. Abusaid Quinard was born in Torreon, Coahuila, and has developed his career in the housing development industry. He was the first developer in Mexico to obtain the innovation registry in affordable housing. His company has also been recognized as a strong developer of housing for people with disabilities and for building ecological property developments setting high eco‐technology standards for INFONAVIT. From 1996 to 2000 Mr. Abusaid Quinard served as National Counselor of the late PROVIVAC (Housing Industrial Promoters); he was CANADEVI's Laguna delegation President from 2000 to 2003, and CANADEVI's National Counselor from 2003 to 2007, he also served as National Delegations' Vice President from 2007 to 2010, and National Vice President from 2010 to 2012. As CANADEVI’s National President, Mr. Abusaid Quinard works with his Board to provide more Mexicans with the most important property asset: a sustainable and quality house. He actively participates in the Developers' Joint Commission, as well as in INFONAVIT’s Board.

ahumadaGermán Ahumada Russek is Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer of Consorcio ARA. He co-founded the Company in 1977. In the firm’s 38 years of experience, it has built and sold more than 306,000 homes inhabited by 1.2 million Mexicans. Consorcio ARA has also been successful in the building and operating 6 shopping malls with a Gross Leasable Area of 157,000 square meters. ARA has become known for its diversified product offering and long-term vision, with a solid financial structure that is reflected in its liquidity and moderate debt levels. For nine consecutive years ARA has had the highest credit ratings in the sector issued by Standard & Poor´s and Moody’s Investor Services. Moreover, for the same period of years, ARA has been distinguished as a Socially Responsible Company. Since 1996, ARA has been listed on the Mexican Stock Exchange and its ADRs are quoted on the on the New York Stock Exchange. In 2007 Germán Ahumada Russek was awarded "El Hombre de la Casa" for his vision, experience and significant contribution to the Mexican Homebuilding industry. Mr. Ahumada is member of the board of Banca Metropolitana Regional of BBVA Bancomer, and the Metropolitan Consulting Board of Grupo Financiero Banamex. He has an engineering degree from Universidad Iberoamericana, and he studied at St. John’s University in New York.

baezaJosé Reyes Baeza Terrazas is Director of the Housing Fund of the State's Employees' Social Security and Social Services Institute (ISSSTE). He is a Mexican politician and lawyer, and graduated with honors from the University of Chihuahua, where he served as University Advisor and President of the Alumni and Professor Society. In 2004, he was elected Governor of Chihuahua as a member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party for the term ending in 2010. Prior to that, he was Director of Urban Development and Ecology under the Ministry of Urban Development and Ecology of the State of Chihuahua (1986-1992). He then served as mayor of the city of Chihuahua from 1998 to 2001, as director of civil pensions for the State of Chihuahua between 2001 and 2003, and as congressman in the federal Chamber of Deputies until 2006. In 2002 he was nominated by President Enrique Peña Nieto as the Executive head of the Housing Fund of the State's Employees' Social Security and Social Services Institute (ISSSTE). 

canovelezJesús Alberto Cano Vélezwas appointed as General Director of the Federal Mortgage Society (SHF) in December 2012. He graduated from the University of Guadalajara with a BA in Economics. He has vast experience in federal and local governments and in the legislative branch. In the federal government he was the Chief Financial Officer at the Attorney General's Office (PGR) and General Director of Planning and Budget in the Ministry of Finance. In his home state of Sonora he served as General Treasurer and as Secretary of Development and Public Expenditures. In the legislative branch, he served as Federal Deputy (Congressman) for the First Circumscription in the LXI Legislature where he was appointed as Secretary of the Budget and Public Accounts Committee and as Member of the Finance Committee. Mr. Cano Vélez is very active in his political party as well as in non-profit organizations. He is the President of the Cano Velez foundation Ayudo y me Gusta and was the President of the Economists' Federation of Mexico. 

forsythAnn Forsyth is professor and principal investigator at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Trained in planning and architecture, she works mainly on the social aspects of physical planning and urban development. The big issue behind her research and practice is how to make more sustainable and healthy cities. Dr. Forsyth's contributions have been to analyze the success of planned alternatives to sprawl, particularly exploring the tensions between social and ecological values in urban design. Several issues prove to be the most difficult to deal with in planning better places and provide a focus for some of her more detailed investigations: suburban design, walkability, affordable housing, social diversity, and appropriate green space. In doing this work she has created a number of tools and methods in planning—an urban design inventory, GIS protocols, health impact assessments, and participatory planning techniques. Dr. Forsyth is also a reflective practitioner/theorist and has created several new ways of understanding social and intellectual diversity in planning and design. Her education includes a B.Sc. in architecture from the University of Sydney, M.A. in urban planning and Ph.D. in city and regional planning from Cornell. At Harvard Dr. Forsyth is a Senior Faculty Fellow at Harvard's Joint Center for Housing Studies, an affiliated Faculty Member, Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies, a Faculty Associate at the Harvard University Center for the Environment, and a Faculty Associate at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs. With Professor Diane Davis, Dr. Forsyth co-directs the research component of Rethinking Social Housing in Mexico.

g2xEugenio Garza y Garza joined Javer as chief financial officer in February of 2008, and at the end of 2012 was named chief executive officer with overall responsibility for formulating and implementing company strategy for a new period of growth. Prior to joining Javer, Mr. Garza built a successful career in investment banking in Mexico and New York, first as a vice-president with Goldman Sachs (1997-2005), and then at Merrill Lynch (2005-2008) where he served as managing director and head of Investment Banking for Mexico. Earlier, he was an associate at Booz Allen Hamilton in Monterrey, providing consulting in business strategies and operations. Mr. Garza holds a degree in chemical engineering with honors from Monterrey Tec and an MBA with honors from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business. Mr. Garza is a CFA® charterholder and serves on several boards outside of Javer including: The Investment Committee of Afore Invercap, the Stanford Business School Alumni Association, the Monterrey chapter of IMEF (Instituto Mexicano de Ejecutivos de Finanzas), and the CANADEVI (Camara Nacional de Desarrolladores de Vivienda).

lealSergio Leal has been the CEO of VINTE since 2001. VINTE is a vertically-integrated housing developer focusing on the low- and middle-income housing markets in Mexico. Its planned community concept provides its customers with strategically placed infrastructure, including roads, schools, shopping centers, and recreational facilities in keeping with the urban design plan, as well as connectivity services, home technology systems, and community development services designed to enhance the quality of life of its residents. VINTE has built more than 20,000 housing units in four Mexican states, primarily in the central part of the country. Its management team has over 24 years of experience in the housing construction industry. Given VINTE’s innovative business model, the Company has diversified its corporate funding base and developed a long-term capital structure with financing from the local (debt) capital markets as well as from leading global financial institutions, such as IFC (the World Bank Group), IIC (the Inter-American Development Bank) and the German Development Bank DEG-KfW. He holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the Universidad Autónoma de Baja California and postgraduate studies in Finance from Anáhuac University. He is an advisory council member of Banamex and the National Chamber of Housing (Canadevi).

ochoaClaudia Martinez Ochoa is a Senior Associate in the Opportunities for the Majority (OMJ) Initiative at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) since 2010, where she has specialized in structuring Base of the Pyramid (BOP) projects across LAC in housing, education, health, financial inclusion, and mobile banking with various companies ranging from start-ups to financial institutions and large corporates. She joined the IDB in 2008 as a Research Fellow in the Portfolio Management Unit (PMU) in the Structured and Corporate Finance Department (SCF)to monitor OMJ transactions, and some corporate finance and infrastructure deals. Before joining the IDB, Claudia worked as a logistics specialist and as a financial analyst at the L’Oréal Group in Paris, France (2006-2008). She received her Master’s degree in Finance and Strategy at the Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris (Sciences po Paris) in 2007, and her B.A in Political Science and Economics at McGill University in 2005.Claudia speaks fluent English, Spanish, French, German, and Portuguese.

muratAlejandro Murat Hinojosa is an active member of a new generation of Mexican politicians, and was raised in the State of Oaxaca, Mexico. Mr. Murat is a lawyer with a rising career in the public service. He currently holds the position of CEO at the Institute of the National Housing Fund for Workers (Infonavit), an organization that has been dedicated, for more than 42 years, to providing affordable mortgages to Mexican workers. Mr. Murat is the youngest person to occupy this position since the creation of the Institute. In the past, he served as a federal representative, creating and leading the Competitiveness and Regional Development Commission. At the State of Mexico’s government, he held the position of Director General of the Registry Function Institute and of the State Radio and Television System. Additionally, Mr. Murat was the Housing Sector Coordinator of President Enrique Peña Nieto’s transition team. As Infonavit’s CEO, Mr. Murat has implemented a transformative agenda to provide better housing solutions and higher returns to workers’ savings. For example, he increased in 76% the maximum mortgage amount, allowing right-holders to acquire higher value and better located homes. Moreover, he implemented a new investment regime that will provide more efficient returns to the savings accounts of the 17 million Infonavit’s affiliated workers. During 2015, he will continue pushing forward innovative housing financial solutions to strengthen the rental and secondary market of houses in Mexico. He holds a B.A. degree in Law from Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM), a master’s degree in law, and another in international affairs, both from Columbia University in New York. Mr. Murat is married to Ivette Morán and has four children.

ortizAntonio Ortiz-Mena has headed the Economic Affairs Section at the Embassy of Mexico in the United States since 2007. From 1999 to 2007 he was Professor of International Relations at CIDE (the Center for Research and Teaching in Economics), a prominent Mexican think tank and academic center. From 2004 to 2007 he also chaired the International Studies Department there. Dr. Ortiz-Mena has published widely on trade policy and regional economic integration. He was a member of Mexico's NAFTA negotiation team and has been an advisor at the Mexican Ministry of Programming and Budget and the Mexican Ministry of Fisheries. He holds an M.A. in Latin American Studies (Economics of Development) from the University of London and a Ph.D. in Political Science (International Political Economy) from the University of California at San Diego.


ramosAlejandro Ramos is Executive Regional Director of United States–Mexico Chamber of Commerce (USMCOC). He joined the USMCOC Northeast Chapter in New York in 2004 and was appointed Executive Regional Director in 2007. He is responsible for the planning, development, and execution of all programs and initiatives of the Chamber in the region, which are aimed to promote, develop, and facilitate business, trade, investment, and financing between Mexico and the United States. He has organized and co-organized more than 300 conferences, seminars, and events on topics such as economics, corporate and project finance, private equity and venture capital, real estate, international trade, energy, capital markets, foreign direct investment, and political analysis, with the participation of top level government officials and business people from both countries. As part of his responsibilities he also advises U.S., Mexican, and international member corporations, firms, and financial institutions on cross-border business issues and strategy. He also has an active role in international business matchmaking and development. In Mexico, Alejandro worked as consultant in management, business, and finance. He assisted foreign firms to establish and initiate operations in Mexico and performed consulting services for financial institutions in areas of credit, internal control, due diligence, operations, and reengineering. He was a pioneer in the development of the loan secondary market in Mexico, heading one of the first independent loan management firms in Mexico. Alejandro also served as Director of International Affairs at the Mexican Banking and Securities Commission (CNBV), where besides representing the Commission at international organizations and managing its working relations with foreign financial authorities, he worked on research studies on domestic and international banking, financial services and markets as well as on their regulation and supervision. Alejandro holds a BS in Economics and he also concluded his MBA studies at the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México. He is also a Chartered Financial Analyst charterholder (CFA).

miajaLuis Robles Miaja is Chairman of the Board of Directors of BBVA Bancomer and President of the Mexican Banking Association (ABM), he is also a prominent lawyer with extensive experience and recognition in the financial and banking sectors in Mexico. A passionate connoisseur of music and arts, Luis Robles was born in Mexico City and he did his undergraduate studies at the Free School of Law (Escuela Libre de Derecho) where he obtained his B.A. in Law. He has a deep knowledge of the global economic environment and has written articles on banking and finance law that have been published in various specialized journals, in addition to being a speaker at various international forums so he is considered an opinion leader in the financial business environment. He started his career in the financial sector as a Director Partner of Robles & Zaldívar Law Firm from 1984 to 1993. In BBVA Bancomer has held the positions of Chief Legal Officer of Mexico’s BBV Financial Group (1993-1998); after that he was appointed Chief Legal Officer for Latin America of Banco Bilbao Vizcaya (BBVA) (1998-2000); Chief Legal Officer for the Americas of BBVA (2000-2007); and Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors at BBVA Bancomer (2007-2012). He also stands out for his valuable participation in various national and international professional associations. At the ABM he has served with distinction in various positions such as Vice President (2013-2014), Executive President (2009 to April 2013); Co-Chair (2005-2009); Chairman of the Legal Commission on banking regulation (2003-2005); and Coordinator of the Legal Committee (1995-1998). He is an active member at the Assembly of the Latin American Federation of Banks (Felaban) where he served as Second Vice Chair from 2010 to 2012. He is also Chairman of the Legal Committee at the Business Coordinating Council (CCE). Because of his long career, leadership and experience in the banking sector, Luis Robles is a member of several Boards of Directors representing mexican and foreign financial institutions. Convinced that banking sector plays a key role for economic growth and development, Luis Robles is also recognized for its active role to promote and encourage greater access to credit and financial services.

schneiderGregorio Schneider is the Founder and Managing Partner of TC Latin America Partners (formerly Terranum Capital), a specialized Latin American alternative asset management firm with offices in Bogota, Lima, Mexico City and New York. Prior to TC Latin America Partners, Gregorio was Managing Director and Head of Emerging Markets at Och-Ziff Capital Management. At Och-Ziff Gregorio was responsible for building the firm’s capabilities, strategic relationships and investment portfolio in Latin America and Eastern Europe. He led the origination, evaluation and due diligence of investment opportunities in different public and private strategies, including equity, credit, distressed assets and real estate. Prior to joining the OZ organization, Gregorio was the Portfolio Manager responsible for special situation investments at the Rohatyn Group (TRG). Gregorio also worked at Spinnaker Capital and Credit Agricole Indosuez in London. Gregorio has served on the boards of various Latin American companies and has been recognized by the World Economic Forum for his work with developing countries. He is a member of the Board of Qualitas of Life Foundation, Columbia University Business School Social Enterprise Program and the Provivah Donor Fund. He holds a B.A. in Business Administration from the Instituto Tecnologico Autonomo de Mexico (ITAM) and received his M.B.A. from Columbia University Business School.

silvaPaloma Silva de Anzorena is General Director of the National Housing Commission (CONAVI). She graduated from the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM ) with First Class Honors on her master’s degree in International Business and her Business Administration bachelor’s degree, along with a Diploma in Credit and Market Risk Management. Abroad she has conducted higher education studies at De Paul University, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, and at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). She has extensive experience in the housing sector, focusing on topics such as urban development and mortgages, due to her experience at the Sociedad Hipotecaria Federal where she served as a Deputy Director General of Promotion and Market Development and as a Market Development Director for almost 10 years. In her time at the SHF, she was responsible for the modernization of the Property and Cadaster Public Records, developing the concept and accreditation process of the Certified Developments (formerly called Sustainable Integrated Urban Developments [DUIS]), and the negotiation of grants and funding of over $3.7 million from the World Bank, IDB, AFD (French Development Agency), and German Development Bank for financing housing in Mexico, as well as donations made by the European Union to ECOCASA project. She has also participated in the implementation of the mortgage securitization model, in the certification of banks, saving banks, and microfinance to make way for new products such as Serviced Lots, Assisted Housing Self Production, and Housing Improvements. She has conducted research and written in publications to explore the housing backlog, the Housing Value Index, and satellite housing accounts, which were coordinated by the SHF Financial Education Program. 

vainerEnrique Vainer is the CEO of Grupo Sadasi. He is a Certified Public Accountant, graduated from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, and serves in a variety of industry’s related posts. He is a founding member of PROVIVAC, now known as Canadevi (Mexico’s Housing Association of Homebuilders). He served as PROVIVAC’s President for the State of México from 1991 until 1993, and as Canadevi’s National President from 1993 until 1995. He is currently one of Canadevi’s Members of its Consulting Committee. He is also a representative for the private sector at INFONAVIT’s Assemblies (Instituto del Fondo Nacional de la Vivienda). He is a member of COPARMEX and a member of its Executive Commission. One of the leading real estate developers in the country, Grupo Sadasi has over 40 years of experience and 300,000 houses built. It is committed to the creation of sustainable communities by providing its clients infrastructure and educational, commercial, and recreational facilities. Its developments have been recognized for their quality and sustainability by national and international authorities, and Grupo Sadasi has positioned itself as one of the homebuilders with the best grades in the Accredited Satisfaction Index (ISA), a recognition and award given by JD Power as a result of surveys conducted by interviewing homeowners on their satisfaction with their acquired home.

zarateLuis Fernando Zárate Rocha is President of the Mexican Chamber of the Construction Industry (CMIC). Mr. Zárate is a Civil Engineer from the Engineering College of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), from which he earned his degree in 1971. He also has continuing education studies in Administration from the University of California at Los Angeles. He entered ICA in 1968 and has held various positions in the construction, Administration, and Project Development areas. Currently, he holds the position of Executive Vice President of Empresas ICA as well as that of Vice President of the ICA Foundation. Mr. Zárate was selected, through a competitive process, as a profesor in the Engineering College of the UNAM in Construction and Edification, where he has taught since 1978. He is also a member of the Outside Advisor Board of the college. In 2004 he was honored by the UNAM with the “University Merit” award. He is a member of the following associations: The Ex-Students Association of the Engineering College, the Mexican Engineers and Architects Association, and the Civil Engineering College of Mexico. He has been a Director and Vice President of Institutional Relations of the Mexican Construction Industry Chamber of Commerce and a founding member of the UNAM Foundation, A.C. He was President of the Ex-Students Association of the Engineering College from 2003-2005, Prosecretary of the Music Academy of Mineria, and the President of the 23rd National Congress of Civil Engineering. Currently, he is also the Coordinator of the Analysis Group 20-25 of the Mexican Civil Engineers College. He has been a speaker at the World Energy Council, the Aspen Forum, the National Congress of Civil Engineering, the Mexican Construction Industry Chamber of Commerce, Canacintra, the Mexican Quality Association, the University Iberoamericana, and the Engineering College of the UNAM, among others. In 2001 he participated in the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Mr. Zárate sits on the Board of Directors of Empresas ICA, the ICA Foundation, the Grupo Aeroportuario Centro Norte, Servicios de Tecnología Aeroportuaria, GeoIca S.A., and ICA Fluor, and is Chairman of the Board of both Proactiva Medio Ambiente México and Suministro de Agua de Querétaro, S.A. He is a full member of the Mexican Academy of Engineering and Vice President of the Technical Committee for the Mexican Energy Conservation Trust, and represents Latin America as member of the Board of the Confederation of International Contractors' Associations.

We'd like to thank our sponsors and partners for their contribution to this event and for their support of important conversations about Mexico's housing and urban development. 


















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